Hopes high 40,000 fans will be allowed into Challenge Cup final at Wembley

RUGBY league chiefs believe the Challenge Cup final is set to be treated in the same way as football’s Euro final – with more than 40,000 people allowed into Wembley.

Just six days after the conclusion of football’s tournament, Castleford face St Helens at the same stadium.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-week delay to the easing of lockdown restrictions to July 19 takes in the showpiece, which happens on July 17.

But SunSport understands hopes are high the Challenge Cup final – and the preceding 1895 Cup final between York and Featherstone – will have the higher crowd limit, rather than the 22,500 it has now.

It is believed 'constructive' talks were held between the Rugby Football League and the Government over the weekend in preparation for yesterday’s announcement.

And the impression is a favourable conclusion is on the cards.

RFL chief commercial officer Mark Foster said: "We have had talks with the Government in recent weeks and particularly in the last week since the semi-finals, and these continued over the weekend and today.

“With further discussions planned during the next couple of days, we hope to make a further announcement on ticketing arrangements before the end of the week."

Last year’s Challenge Cup final between Leeds and Salford was played behind closed doors and this year only the semi-finals were played in front of fans.

But with England’s potential last 16 tie, both semi-finals and the final of Euro 2020 allowed a crowd of more than 40,000, it is thought rugby league’s later event may also have that.

The Prime Minister’s announcement is a blow to clubs, who will continue to have restricted capacities for Super League matches.

That means they will lose out on more valuable income, with Huddersfield v Hull FC and Leigh v Warrington on Thursday, July 22, the first ties scheduled to be played under relaxed rules.

Super League is currently experiencing a Covid-19 spike to its own after Leeds v St Helens and Huddersfield v Wigan were postponed at the weekend because of a number of positive cases.

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